Mus­cle build­ing, three ways

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Fawad Ahadi

The good news is that nowa­days we have ac­cess to great knowl­edge, tech­nol­ogy, nu­tri­tion and train­ing meth­ods, tri­alled over the years. Here are three ways that you can ac­cel­er­ate your mus­cle build­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

1 Un­der­stand your “rep tempo”

“Rep Tempo” is one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of build­ing mus­cle, full stop.

There are four spe­cific parts to rep tempo and they are: 1. Con­cen­tric phase (the “lift­ing” part). 2. Iso­met­ric con­trac­tion 1 (the “pause” af­ter the lift). 3. Ec­cen­tric aka “neg­a­tive” phase (the “low­er­ing” of the weight part). 4. Iso­met­ric con­trac­tion two (the “pause” be­fore the lift).

Dif­fer­ent things are hap­pen­ing within the tar­get mus­cle at each of these points, which is im­por­tant for you to un­der­stand, in or­der to max­imise your mus­cle growth.

You cre­ate the most ten­sion and re­cruit­ment dur­ing the ec­cen­tric phase, which is why I pre­scribe, slow and con­trolled neg­a­tives to all my clients. At the iso­met­ric point af­ter the con­cen­tric phase, this is where, by squeez­ing the mus­cle you can sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease mus­cle fi­bre re­cruit­ment and ac­ti­va­tion. Dur­ing the con­cen­tric phase in­ter­est­ingly, us­ing more con­trolled speed to lift the weight, helps ac­ti­vate more fi­bres. This DOES NOT mean “as fast as pos­si­ble”, or “un­con­trolled” – it just means, dur­ing the lift­ing phase, more speed is usu­ally bet­ter.


I see so many peo­ple go too eas­ily on them­selves with rest pe­ri­ods be­tween work­ing sets. This may be a lack of knowl­edge, too much dis­trac­tion or a train­ing part­ner who sim­ply does not have the same goals as you do.

In my opin­ion, once your first work­ing set is done, the clock starts tick­ing and you stick to the pre­scribed rest pe­ri­ods. This is one of the true mark­ers and pace­mak­ers for IN­TEN­SITY. The fact you were able to lift “X” amount of weight on ev­ery set, is ir­rel­e­vant to your hy­per­tro­phy goals, if you had to rest too long, in or­der to do it, OK? So make sure you have a timer and only rest for the amount of time that is spe­cific to your goals. I only rest a max­i­mum of 60 – 90 sec­onds be­tween sets when my goal is mus­cle­build­ing. That rest pe­riod re­duces if I want to lose body fat and like­wise in­creases, if I am work­ing on strength alone.


Some might not agree with this, but I’ve seen so many peo­ple fol­low a train­ing pro­gramme which has far too much vol­ume and fre­quency with­out pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion. I strongly be­lieve one should train heavy and hard, how­ever, af­ter a few weeks of heavy in­tense train­ing, it is good to change it up.

In­clude a few more rest days and lighter ses­sions just to rest the body, so it can ben­e­fit from the in­ten­sity when you restart the heav­ier and more in­tense train­ing.

To build mus­cle it is VERY much a case of “qual­ity, not quan­tity”.

There’s a time for more vol­ume and there’s a time for less vol­ume and more in­ten­sity. Com­bin­ing this as part of a cy­cle, with dif­fer­ent rep ranges is es­sen­tial, if you’re se­ri­ous about build­ing mus­cle.

You cre­ate the most

ten­sion dur­ing the ec­cen­tric (low­er­ing) phase, which is why slow and con­trolled

neg­a­tives is best.

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